Ground to be broken next year for Oakton Street station

Changes and expansions are slowly moving forward for CTA’s Yellow Line, which now consists of just two stops: the Dempster Station in Skokie and the Howard Station in Chicago’s Rogers Park.

The plans are for adding up to two new stops on the line, better known as the Skokie Swift. Officials at the Chicago Transit Authority also are deciding whether to make permanent the weekend service, which began on a trial basis in late March.

A new stop already has been approved for Oakton Street in downtown Skokie. Village officials plan to meet Aug. 27 to review a design for the station. Village spokeswoman Ann Tennes said if the design is approved, details will be finalized by the end of this year and ground will be broken sometime next year. Tennes said an opening date for the station hasn’t been set.

A second new stop is in the talking stages for Evanston. Public Works director John Burke recently announced the state’s Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Committee had included a proposed study of a stop there on a list of projects to receive federal funding next year. In a statement, Burkesaid the city seeks a $220,000 federal grant to decide the best location for a stop on Evanston’s south side, possibly at Ridge, Asbury or Dodge Avenues.

I can think of no better project than one that increases transit ridership and mobility by simply opening up access to an existing passenger rail line that today runs through the city of Evanston without opening its doors,” Burke said. In a press release, Burke said another study found Evanston residents would add 1,000 people to the Yellow Line’s daily ridership. CTA officials say weekday ridership is now about 1,800.

Meanwhile, the CTA is nearing the end of a six-month trial of weekend service on the Swift that began March 30. Weekend service ended in 1992 because of budget cuts, to the lament of Cubs fans who used the line for easy access to the North Side. CTA is evaluating whether ridership is high enough to return the service permanently.

Officials had said they expected between 900 and 1,000 boardings a day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Hosinski said no decisions have been made yet about continuing the weekend service, but that customer satisfaction will be a factor.